Meditation is a group of mental practices designed to train you to use your brain as a tool to maintain or get back to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Your brain is your tool and your mind is the process.
Are you in control of your tool or is it like a run-away train that’s dragging you everyday?
Just like how going to the gym strengthens the muscles in your body, so does Meditation strengthen your whole awareness of self and live your life how you want it. Just like how brushing your teeth keeps your mouth clean, so does Meditation help clear unwanted thoughts that don’t serve you.
Through Meditation, you’re also able to re-establish your mind-body connection and live a healthy life because no matter the style used to meditate, it’s main goal is to evoke the “Relaxation Response,” as has been proven by more than 3,000 scientific studies.
The Relaxation Response is a group of processes that your body does autonomically (without your conscious thought) when invoked to bring your body back to homeostasis or balance.
According to Dr Herbert Benson, pioneer in studying the scientific benefits of Meditation, “The [relaxation] response is defined as your personal ability to encourage your body to release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down and increase blood flow to the brain.”
It does the exact opposite of what your body does when you’re in the “fight-or-flight response.” This is crucial to know because you engage the fight-or-flight response when you experience stress. The same mechanisms that your body does to fend off physical attack or save someone you love in danger (remember anecdotes of people lifting cars on their own to save someone who’s trapped?) are the same ones your body uses to react to stress. According to your body’s autonomic nervous system, the threat is the same even if in relation to stress, it’s a “perceived” threat.
Your body engages the fight-or-flight response when you experience stress.
When your body invokes the fight-or-flight response, these happen:
– Increase in heart rate
– Increase in respiratory rate
– Increase in blood pressure
– Increase in oxygen consumption
– Increase in muscle tension
– Increase in hypervigilance
– Your digestive and sexual functions stop (when you’re in danger, eating and sex are low in your body’s priority!)
These are available to you so you can survive, meaning in extreme emergencies. Your body is equipped to come down from the fight-or-flight response. But when your body is constantly in a stressed mode, your organs start to over-function and can lead to a number of chronic diseases, such as:
• Alcohol and drug dependencies.
• Anxiety and panic disorders.
• Asthma, allergies, skin diseases.
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Chronic pain.
• Constipation, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome.
• Depressed immune system, increased likelihood of colds and infections.
• Depression and suicide.
• Difficulty maintaining sexual arousal, loss of libido.
• Difficulty urinating, bladder infection, bladder disease.
• Erectile dysfunction.
• Headaches (and migraines).
• Heart disease /heart attack.
• High blood pressure.
• High cholesterol.
• Joint Pain.
• Multiple Sclerosis.
• Muscle stiffness, backaches, neck pain.
• Sleep disturbances.
• Ulcers and digestive disorders.
A disclaimer here that these dis-eases are not necessarily always caused by chronic stress but that chronic stress can lead to these diseases if not managed.
Stress in itself is not harmful to you. They say it gives colour to life and it’s also how you grow and learn from situations. Its stress that’s not managed well and prolonged that gives serious problems to your health.
If you knew that you could avoid these dis-eases or start to lessen their impact in your life and feel that you’re on top of life with at least a 20-min meditation practice each day, why wouldn’t you do it?
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